Cowboy Classic on tap for men’s golf

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Stanford men’s golf travels to the desert this week to compete in the Cowboy Classic at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. The Cardinal will take on 22 teams, including Colorado, Oregon and UCLA, in this two-day tournament.

The Cardinal’s five-man lineup will consist of senior Nate Menon, junior Ethan Ng, sophomore Barclay Brown and freshmen Michael Thorbjornsen and Karl Vilips.

Menon will be making his first team start since the Cabo Collegiate back in early March. However, he got the competitive juices flowing by playing in The Goodwin last week as an individual. Following a lackluster first-round 75, Menon rebounded with scores of 69 and 67 to finish in a tie for 21st. His four-under-par performance in the final two rounds was tied for the lowest on the team and earned him a spot in the starting lineup.

Brown comes into the tournament with the lowest scoring average on the team (71) and back-to-back strong tournament results. At the Bandon Dunes Championship, Brown successfully battled the Pacific Northwest elements for a top-five finish. At The Goodwin, Brown led the Cardinal with a two-under-par score and a tie for 11th.

Brown, originally from South Yorkshire, England, was also recently named as one of 10 players to represent Great Britain and Ireland in the Walker Cup in May. Brown’s confidence should be sky-high coming into the Cowboy Classic after earning the prestigious invitation.

The three remaining Cardinal golfers — Ng, Thorbjornsen and Vilips — all finished in a tie for 14th at The Goodwin last week. Thorbjornsen led the Cardinal with an opening round 67 before finishing at one-under-par for the tournament. Vilips posted par or better rounds each day to grab his second top-15 finish of the season and Ng improved his season scoring average to 71.5. All three golfers will look to build on their success with another strong performance in Arizona.

This week’s event could be pivotal for Stanford. The defending NCAA Champions are currently ranked outside of the top-25 in the country with two tournaments remaining before the Pac-12 Championships. In the Cardinal’s 2019 championship run, the team posted similar results early in the season before catching fire in the late spring. A top finish at the Cowboy Classic might be just the spark the Cardinal needs before postseason play commences.

The Cowboy Classic will take place at Whirlwind Golf Club’s 7,334-yard Cattail Course. Players will complete 36 holes on Monday and 18 holes Tuesday. With the forecast calling for temperatures above 90 degrees, Monday’s two rounds will be a test of the Cardinal’s endurance.

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Gavin McDonell is a staff writer in the sports section. He is a freshman from San Francisco, California who is considering a major in Management Science and Engineering or Mathematics. His rooting interests include the San Francisco Giants, the Golden State Warriors, Max Homa and of course, the Stanford Cardinal. Contact him at gmcdonell 'at' stanforddaily.com.